Karnaphuli Tunnel to ‘reshape Ctg, boost national economy’

The multi-lane dream tunnel to be constructed beneath the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong is expected to give a boost to the national economy helping the country fetch a high volume of investment.

“Today, I’m very much delighted. It’ll help upgrade Chittagong giving a quick boost to the country’s overall economy,” Abdus Salam who first floated the idea of multi-lane tunnel beneath Karnaphuli River told UNB on Monday.

Salam, also Chairman of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), said a five star hotel — Radisson Blu Chittagong — in the port city elevated entire Chittagong overnight and this dream tunnel will reshape whole Bangladesh.

“It’ll create new avenues of economic activities over tourism industry, industrial parks, special economic zones, deep seaport, new power plants, LNG terminal and Asian Highway,” he said.

Making a flash back to the initial days, Salam said he directly proposed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for taking up the tunnel project as part of a multi-mode communication system to tap the potential of rapid economic development which she accepted right away.

The CDA is implementing a project, ‘Coastal Road Construction and Embankment Strengthening Project’, also known as Chittagong Outer Ring Road Project, costing Tk 1700 crore, which will work as an approach road to the tunnel.

“People will be able communicate from South Chittagong up to Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf bypassing Chittagong city by using the ring road and tunnel,” said the CDA Chairman.

Syed Nurul Islam, director of Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CMCCI), said Bangladesh needs to see development of south Chittagong which will make the district more vibrant economic hub contributing to the national country.

“I think the tunnel project, once implemented, will help make connectivity easier up to Cox’s Bazar,” he said adding that it is landmark initiative.

He also hoped that the tunnel may convert Chittagong into a global financial centre Shanghai bringing enormous economic benefit for Bangladesh.

The Road Transport and Bridges Ministry will sign a deal with a Chinese state-owned company on Tuesday around 1pm (BST) for the construction of the tunnel.

Secretary to the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry MAN Siddique and Chairman of China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCCL) Liu Qitao are scheduled to sign the deal in Beijing.

An eight-member delegation, led by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, left Dhaka for Beijing on June 26, said an official here.

The total project outlay might cross $1 billion.

On June 9 last year, Bangladesh and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on construction of a tunnel under the Karnaphuli River.